“Drumming requires exceptional sensory-motor coordination and our study has shown that it is incredibly beneficial for teenagers with an autism spectrum disorder. The combination of physical activity and learning a new skill led to changes in brain function and behaviours linked to inhibitory control and attention. I am excited to share these findings with the public at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.”Professor Steve Williams
11 July 2023
Drumming for Health at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2023
The exhibition Drumming for Health and Wellbeing builds on two studies featuring King's researchers
Professor Steve Williams, Head of Neuroimaging at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, joined his collaborators at The Clem Burke Drumming Project at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 4 -9 July 2023.
Drumming for Health and Wellbeing is one of nine flagship exhibits at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2023. The exhibition Drumming for Health and Wellbeing focuses on three themes: Physical Health, Cognitive Health, and Social and Emotional Wellbeing.
Professor Williams' interest in drumming inspired the 2016 study that found that drumming induces brain plasticity, the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganisation. The study revealed a potential for exercise-based interventions to rehabilitate impairments caused by brain diseases.
He also shared the 2022 study reporting the positive effect of learning to drum on teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Individual drum tuition, twice weekly over 8 weeks, showed a significant reduction in hyperactivity and inattention difficulties. Imaging results also demonstrated increased functional connectivity in brain areas responsible for self-regulation and motor impulsivity (acting without considering consequences).
The exhibition featured Dr Ruth Lowry (University of Essex), Professor Marcus Smith (University of Chichester), Dr Steve Draper (Hartpury University), Mark Richardson (Drummer for Skunk Anansie) and Jules Tabbered-Stewart (Roland Corporation).
The Clem Burke Drumming Project (CBPD) was founded in 2008. The project initially set out to examine the physiological demands of drumming and has developed into an exploration of the physical, mental and health benefits of drumming.